All The Bright Places (ARC)- Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

This recently published YA lit is also slated to be made into a movie!  I wasn’t sure what to expect when cracking open All the Bright Places but I was happy with what I found.  Niven uses the seemingly increasing in popularity, multiple point of view narrative technique, to put you inside the heads of two teens, Violet, and Finch.

Throughout the book you discover that both have demons they are wrestling.  The issues dealt with in this book are numerous, and intense.  Depression, suicide, death of loved ones, divorce, abuse, sexual contact are all touched on.  I believe each is dealt with largely in a realistic way.  The sexual contact could, in my opinion, focus a little attention on practicing safe sex however it is not overly explicit and I’d be comfortable with high school students reading it.

Though there is a male and a female protagonist I feel this book will appeal much more to female teens.  I think it is appropriate for 11th and 12th graders.  I would be reluctant to just leave it on my bookshelf in the classroom because of the potential to trigger students who have been touched by the above mentioned issues.  In the past year suicide and attempted suicide has touched my family a lot and I know that for some members of my family reading about it would re-traumatize them.

Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Death, Car Crashes, Physical Abuse

There is currently no information available for reading level or interest level.  This is definitely a high school book though the reading level is not particularly difficult.

Check out the author’s page for other ways to interact with the book:  http://www.jenniferniven.com/books/allthebrightplaces/

Push- Sapphire

Push by Sapphire has received a lot of attention after being turned into the award-winning movie “Precious.”  I picked a copy of it up at a bookstore a few months ago and then forgot about it.  I’m glad I read it now though.  I had a feeling I would like the book but was not prepared for the way in which it was written. The novel is written from Precious’ point of view and is written as if she wrote it- and as a girl severely lacking in reading and writing skills this means that there are phonetic spellings, lots of swearing, and also slang.  I did find it easy to follow though and read it rather quickly.

I think this is a great book for English teachers to read because it reminds us of what deficiencies our students may be coming to us with that we might not think of.  i.e. the inability to read or write.  Due to the graphic descriptions of rape, incest, and abuse I would be hesitant to use this in my classroom.  I think it has a message that could be discussed, but having worked with students coming from this type of a background themselves I would be concerned about triggering flashbacks and or re-traumatizing them.  I would however recommend it to students in 11th and 12th grade while explaining to them that there are some rather graphic scenes, and letting them make their own mind up about whether they want to read it or not.

Overall I really enjoyed the book.

Awards:

2010 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults- YALSA

Opportunity for Free Books

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